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Doctor gets probation for fraud

ATLANTA - A 73-year-old Stone Mountain doctor was sentenced to a lengthy probation stint Thursday for his a role in a health care scheme.

Dr. Totada R. Shanthaveerappa, known to some patients at "T.R. Shantha M.D.", pleaded guilty in October to health care fraud, after he masked the type of drugs and treatments he provided patients.

In 2005, authorities said Shanthaveerappa treated patients with cancer and other life-threatening diseases with weed-killer and insecticide.

Shanthaveerappa was sentenced in federal court Thursday to five years probation. He was also ordered to pay $650,000 in restitution.

The doctor owned and operated a Stockbridge medical clinic under the names "Integrated Medical Specialists" and "Integrated Chemotherapy Specialists."

He had practiced in Georgia since 1972, until his license was suspended by the Georgia Board of Medical Examiners in December 2005.

Shanthaveerappa admitted to defrauding health insurance companies by submitting false claims for payment, which disguised the types of drugs and treatments that he provided to patients, authorities said.

Court documents show Shanthaveerappa also mislead clients.

He advertised that his clinic practiced "safe and effective, nontoxic, scientifically-based alternative" medicine that could "cure or control most cancer and other chronic disease," according to court documents.

"(He) defrauded the health care system and posed a threat to the public health ... with unapproved procedures and drugs," said U.S. Attorney David Nahmias.